Child Saved By Sequestered Jurors

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(Memphis) A little girl is recovering after nearly drowning in a hotel pool, then being attended to by sequestered jurors. 

According to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were escorting a sequestered jury into an East Memphis hotel shortly after 8 p.m. the evening of May 17. 

As they passed the hotel swimming pool on the way to the elevators, Deputy Amy Chaffin said someone came out of the pool area. “She was just screaming for help,” she said.

Six-year-old Shawanda Birdse was found floating face-down in the pool, when another parent picked her up out of the water and set her on the carpet on the ground. A maintenance man started CPR.

Shawanda’s aunt, Nataki Jones, said she had just turned around to watch her children on the other side of the pool, for less than two minutes.

“Not even a minute that she was in the pool, and they turned her over and she’s like different colors,” Jones said.

Jones is CPR-certified, but froze in shock at what was happening.

“I could have done something, but my mind was like in another whole world. Like this can’t be real,” she said.

That’s when Deputy Chaffin and two jurors jumped into action. Dr. Jara Best, a pediatrician with the Pediatric Consultants and Sheila Dalrymple, a registered nurse with the West Clinic, were both part of the sequestered jury.

“I saw Sheila put her stuff down, and run, and I threw my stuff down,” said Dr. Best.

Deputy Chaffin called for another deputy, Steve Perry, to escort all other jurors to their rooms while Chaffin called for paramedics and cleared the scene.

Dalrymple said, “It was God’s plan for us to be there, and we were late for dinner. And it just was - everything fell into place.”

Dr. Best said Shawanda was not breathing and had no pulse.

If the right people hadn’t been there at the right time, they said Shawanda would have died.

Shawanda’s cousins, who were on the other end of the pool, said they were scared.

“I was thinking, is she going to live?” one cousin said.

Shawanda was transported to LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in critical condition. She recovered quickly and was released on Sunday.

Shawanda Birdse was at her aunt’s side Monday, as they spoke to News Channel 3.

Shawanda seemed stunned at the attention, since she doesn’t remember what happened. Her aunt said she only remembers playing by the swimming pool, then going home to sleep.

That may be a good thing, since Shawanda is still interested in swimming and will definitely be getting lessons.